With the plethora of options that the Royals have in the bullpen, it would seem to be inevitable that one or two of their relievers would be on the block, especially as they all begin to approach arbitration. Since the Royal likely up against their spending limit and still have potential holes to fill in their lineup and possibly in the rotation, it would certainly behoove the Royals to part with players that they feel would be replaceable. As such, both Aaron Crow and Tim Collins are, according to members of rival front offices, very available for trade.
Although neither player is likely to cost much in their first year of arbitration, and are expected to earn less than $3 Million combined, there may be other factors as to why the Royals would be willing to part ways with both pitchers. Looking at free agency, Joe Smith signed for a three year deal for over $15 Million with the Angels, which could increase the return for both pitchers. With each pitcher having three years left before free agency themselves at what should be a fraction of the cost, the Royals may be able to receive a solid return on both relievers.
Both Collins and Crow have a similar profile, power arms that have struck out approximately a batter an inning. Collins has put together a 12-14 record with a 3.51 ERA, striking out 205 batters in 190 innings. Crow, meanwhile, has gone 14-10 with a 3.19 ERA and 174 strikeouts in 174.2 innings of work. Both pitchers also bring other potential strengths to the table – Collins being a lefty that strikes out over a batter an inning, and Crow having a small bit of experience as a closer. For teams not only in need of relatively cheap and controllable setup men, but in need of a potential closer, the Royals may have the answer.
With Aaron Crow and Tim Collins seemingly falling out of favor towards the end of the season and relinquishing their setup roles, they would have seemingly been the two relievers most likely to be on the block regardless of how free agency played out. Now, seeing how the free agent market for relief pitching may be shaping up, both pitchers could be hot commodities.
The Kansas City Royals find themselves in the enviable position of having so much bullpen depth that they may be able to send those arms off to help fill out holes in their roster as part of a package. Even if Crow and/or Collins alone are not enough to get a second baseman or a right fielder, they could be a key part of a trade to acquire such needed pieces.
Aaron Crow and Tim Collins have both been valuable members of the Royals bullpen over the past three years. However, it may be that they can provide the Royals with even more value with their departure.